|Water Margin character|
|Nickname||"Touching the Sky"
|Rank||83rd, Demon Star (地妖星) of the 72 Earthly Fiends|
|Infantry leader of Liangshan|
|Origin||Bandit leader from Liangshan Marsh|
|First appearance||Chapter 11|
Du Qian is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 83rd of the 108 Liangshan heroes and 47th of the 72 Earthly Fiends. He is nicknamed "Touching the Sky".
Du Qian is one of the pioneers of the outlaw band at Liangshan Marsh. He and Wang Lun sat for the imperial examination but were both not successful candidates. They live in Chai Jin's residence for a while before moving to Liangshan Marsh, where they start an outlaw band and recruit some 800 followers. Wang Lun takes the position of chief while Du Qian takes the second leadership position in the band. Song Wan and Zhu Gui join them later.
Lin Chong joins Liangshan
Lin Chong is forced to go on the run after killing three enemies who attempted to murder him in Cangzhou. He takes shelter in the residence of the nobleman Chai Jin, who writes a recommendation letter for him to join the outlaw band at Liangshan. When Lin Chong arrives in Liangshan, Wang Lun refuses to allow him to join the band for fear that Lin would take over his position as chief, so he tries to send Lin away by giving him many precious gifts. Eventually, at the urging of Du Qian, Song Wan and Zhu Gui, Wang Lun agrees to allow Lin Chong to join Liangshan, but on the condition that Lin kills a man and presents his head within three days.
After waiting for two days on a deserted road, Lin Chong finally encounters Yang Zhi and attempts to kill him and take his head. However, Yang Zhi proves to be a powerful fighter as well and neither of them is able to defeat his opponent after rounds of fighting. Wang Lun and his deputies eventually arrive on the scene and stop the fight. Wang Lun agrees to let Lin Chong join Liangshan and invites Yang Zhi to join too but Yang declines the offer.
Chao Gai becomes chief
In a later chapter, Chao Gai and his six companions arrive at Liangshan for refuge after robbing a convoy of birthday gifts for Cai Jing, the Imperial Tutor. Wang Lun is worried that Chao Gai would pose a threat to his position as chief, and tries to send Chao and his friends away in the same manner as he did to Lin Chong. Lin Chong is unhappy with Wang Lun and kills him after being instigated by Wu Yong. Chao Gai becomes the new chief of Liangshan and recruits Wang Lun's former deputies (including Du Qian).
Campaigns and death
Du Qian becomes one of the leaders of the Liangshan infantry after the Grand Assembly of the 108 Stars of Destiny. He follows the heroes on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and rebel forces after they have been granted amnesty by Emperor Huizong.
During the campaign against the rebel leader Fang La, Song Wan is trampled to death by enemy cavalry during the battle of Qingxi County (清溪縣; present-day Anxi County, Quanzhou, Fujian). He is posthumously awarded the title "Righteous Gentleman of Integrity" (義節郎) by Emperor Huizong in recognition of his contributions during the campaign.
- (Chinese) Li, Mengxia. 108 Heroes from the Water Margin, page 167. EPB Publishers Pte Ltd, 1992. ISBN 9971-0-0252-3.
- Buck, Pearl. All Men are Brothers. Moyer Bell Ltd, 2006. ISBN 9781559213035.
- Zhang, Lin Ching. Biographies of Characters in Water Margin. Writers Publishing House, 2009. ISBN 978-7506344784.
- Keffer, David. Outlaws of the Marsh.
- Miyamotois, Yoko. Water Margin: Chinese Robin Hood and His Bandits.
- (Japanese) Ichisada, Miyazaki. Suikoden: Kyoko no naka no Shijitsu. Chuo Koronsha, 1993. ISBN 978-4122020559.
- Shibusawa, Kou. Bandit Kings of Ancient China. KOEI, 1989.